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Arts Events: A First-Year's Writers' Week

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Yesterday marked the start of UNCW’s Department of Creative Writing’s annual Writers’ Week! Each year, remarkable poets and writers converge on the UNCW campus for a week of arts events—a week of creativity and inspiration. As a first-year MFA candidate in the Creative Writing program, I couldn’t be more excited for my first UNCW Writers’ Week.  

While working toward my undergraduate degree, I didn’t have the opportunity to experience anything quite like UNCW Writers’ Week. Here, undergraduate students, graduate students and members of the public are all invited to deepen their understanding and discussion of the art and craft of writing 

Most creative writing graduate classes are cancelled so that us MFAers have the time and energy to attend. In preparation of the week ahead, I am fully stocked on coffee, paper, and pens to try and absorb as much as possible from the amazing array of panels, talks, and readings on the schedule.  

The Writers’ Week archives date all the way back to Spring, 2001, and feature renown writers such as Mark Doty, Dana Sachs, Denis Johnson, DanaMei Fong, Chinelo Okparanta and Ross Gay (just to name a few). 

Writers Week UNCW Arts Events

With incredible past lineups, it’s no surprise that this year features Buckner Keynote Camille T. Dungy, Meg Day, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Toni Jensen, Joni Tevis, May-lee Chai, and Sayantani Dasgupta.  

A poet and writer whose pieces balance the harrowing and the vulnerable while illuminating the nuances of power, survival, and hope, Camille T. Dungy’s works hold a special place in my heart. Camille Dungy read from Trophic Cascade at the Colorado Book Award Finalist Readings at BookBar in Denver this past April, and I was one face in a crowd of many. I am as excited to hear her read on November 1st here in Wilmington as I was back in April. 

Get a taste for Camille T. Dungy’s reading ahead of time by checking out her performance of “What You Want” here.  

My first day of Writers’ Week as a first-year was overflowing with inspiration. During the morning craft lecture, Meg Day had us write 6-word biographies (mine was: “Hunger to experience the world, entirely.”) and then taught us to match our line breaks with our steps, by reading our poems aloud while walking. Later, they were joined by Cortney Lamar Charleston, Jason Mott, and MFA coordinator Melissa Crowe, on a panel where access, representation, and authenticity were the focus. The day ended with dazzling and inspiring performances by Meg Day and Cortney Lamar Charleston who read from selections of their newest writing. 

If you missed last night’s performance, you can hear Meg Day’s “Elegy in Translation” and Cortney Lamar Charleston’s “How to Raise a Black Child” on YouTube. 

My hopes are that by the end of my first Writers’ Week, I will not only become a better poet and writer, but also a better human; I hope you’ll join me! Events are Monday-Friday in the Lumina Theater. FREE and open to the publicCheck out the full schedule online here.  

-Lindsay Lake